Arts & Culture

Arts & culture

J Roddy Walston & The Business were last on World Cafe in 2013 with the album Essential Tremors. A lot has changed since then.

After living in Cleveland, Tennessee and Baltimore, J. Roddy has settled in Richmond, Va., where he found a thriving music community, built a recording studio, and became a father. All of which affected the band's new album, Destroyers Of The Soft Life.

Richard Wilbur, the former poet laureate and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner renowned for his elegant, exquisitely crafted formal poetry has died at the age of 96.

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The National Sleep Foundation recommends an average of eight hours of sleep per night for adults, but sleep scientist Matthew Walker says that too many people are falling short of the mark.

"Human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep for no apparent gain," Walker says. "Many people walk through their lives in an underslept state, not realizing it."

Amy Tan loves jazz and classical music. "I have a Steinway, which was my life's dream," she says, sitting at her grand piano in the middle of her New York living room. When Tan listens to a piece of music, she imagines stories to go with it, so she always listens when she writes.

At a time when we've seen consecutive natural disasters pummel places such as Texas, Puerto Rico and Mexico, it's sometimes difficult to see beyond the incredible pain and images of destruction.

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They had me at "parmesan pepper bread." There are plenty of cookbooks that delight the eyes with beautiful photography, but the new self-titled cookbook from Zingerman's Bakehouse (and the first proper cookbook from the lauded Zingerman's 10 businesses) in Ann Arbor, Mich., is not a coffee table book.

Written by bakery co-owners Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo, the book does have some mouthwatering images, but its real appeal lies in the no-nonsense recipes that seem like they're just an oven-preheat away from appearing warm and fresh in your kitchen.

Actor Tom Hanks has made us believe he can be anyone and do anything on the big screen.

Now he's taking us on a journey on the page: Tom Hanks has written a book.

It's a collection of short stories, with varied subjects: a World War II veteran on Christmas Eve in 1953, a California surfer kid who makes an unsettling discovery. There's time travel. In every story, Hanks sneaks in the machine he's so obsessed with — the typewriter.

It was an improbable story, and yet, it's true. Ron Chernow's 2005 biography of a Caribbean orphan who became a Revolutionary War hero, and then one of the nation's most consequential founding figures, became not just a bestseller but the catalyst for one of the most successful Broadway hits of all time — Hamilton.

Alecia Moore, better known as Pink, has built her career on making songs that were honest, and sometimes heartbreaking — but always fun.

In the early 1980s, the BBC approached novelist Kazuo Ishiguro — this year's Nobel laureate for literature – and asked if he would write a television screenplay. He agreed, quit his day job, and wrote The Gourmetan absurdist, gothic satire about hunger in its many dimensions: physical, spiritual and sensual. His exploration of what food means to different sections of society — bread for the poor, a circus for the rich — is as strikingly relevant today as it was 30 years ago.

When Sandra Daugherty's father died unexpectedly at 73, there was no plan. The only thing the family knew was what Grady Ross Daugherty didn't want.

"He was really freaked out about cement liners," said Sandra. "Like this Tupperware container that you get placed in, in the ground. He hated the idea of that. But other than that no wishes. He would say just surprise me. With a twinkle in his eye."

She decided not to choose a standard funeral.

President Trump made his view of the North American Free Trade Agreement very clear during the presidential election. He called NAFTA "the worst trade deal in ... the history of this country." And Trump blamed NAFTA for the loss of millions of U.S. manufacturing jobs.

His administration is in the midst of renegotiating the free trade deal with Canada and Mexico, and that is making many U.S. farmers and ranchers nervous.

Since the beginning of time, humans have been searching for ways to make ourselves feel better fast. Unfortunately, history has shown that many of those ways — cannibalism, cocaine tooth drops, ingesting heavy metals — left us sick, broke, or both. Yet we keep looking for that fast cure.

'Skinful Of Shadows' Delights Without Reservation

Oct 15, 2017

Fans of Frances Hardinge's Costa Award-winning book, The Lie Tree, will be delighted by this new portrait of a unique corner of British history, seen through the eyes of a girl who is too smart for the comfort of her time and circumstances.

When Johnny Fox was a boy, all his friends were obsessed with superheroes.

"Friends of mine were reading comics about Superman and Batman and I thought, 'You know, this is cartoons and made-up stories,' " he says. "I want a real superhero. There's got to be real superheroes out there."

When he was 8 or 9, his parents took him to the Eastern States Exposition near Springfield, Mass. That's where he found those real superheroes.

The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is internationally recognized for his massive, often provocative art installations. And yet, he's spent most of the past decade under house arrest for his persistent defense of free expression.

But as soon as his passport was reissued by the Chinese government a couple of years ago, Ai embarked on possibly his most ambitious project yet: documenting the global refugee crisis. The result of his cinematic journey, Human Flow, is out this week.

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The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has decided to expel Harvey Weinstein after the producer was accused of sexually assaulting and harassing at least three dozen women in extensively-reported articles that have appeared in The New York Times and The New Yorker magazine over the past two weeks.

In the wake of an emergency meeting Saturday, the academy's 54-member Board of Governors issued a statement saying:

'Lady Killers:' Cherchez La Femme Fatale

Oct 14, 2017

If I were a cheerier feminist — an upbeat, jolly, devil-may-care sort of feminist — I believe I would fall in love with this book. Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History would take its place alongside works about other exceptional females on my bookshelf, gynocentric efforts about Calamity Jane, Queen Boadicea, or Lady Jane Grey, who lost her head after only nine days on the English throne.

Hugh Acheson's new book, The Chef and The Slow Cooker, doesn't show much cooking. Instead it shows the Top Chef judge reading in a lawn chair, taking a hot bath or playing the cello (even though he admits he's "about as musically inclined as a rock.") It's about what you can cook while you do something else – even if that something else takes hours.

Travis Meadows has done a lot of living. The Nashville-based artist has battled both addiction and cancer, the latter of which claimed his right leg below the knee. He spent years as a missionary, wrote and performed Christian music, then tumbled back into alcoholism. And he's made a name for himself as someone who can spin dark poetry into some of country music's most heart-wrenching songs. (He based his 2011 album Killin' Uncle Buzzy on journal entries he made while in rehab.)

For October: 3 Romance Heroes Who Bare It All

Oct 14, 2017

There's one thing romance heroes have in common — whether a brooding duke, a workaholic billionaire or reality TV hunk: They look really good with their shirts off. (Oh, and of course they also move heaven and earth to be with the heroine, once they finally admit their love for her.) These three romances are no exception.

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The operating theaters of 19th century England were dirty, crowded spaces where patients screamed and spectators bought tickets to watch life and death struggles.

Surgeons wore blood-encrusted aprons, never washed their hands, and speed was prized over skill, since most patients were awake during surgery in the pre-anesthesia days. Many patients died of infections soon afterward, if they didn't die from shock or blood loss right on the table.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that it will let farmers keep spraying the weedkilling chemical dicamba on Monsanto's new dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. The decision is a victory for the biotech giant and the farmers who want to use the company's newest weedkilling technology.

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